Geraint Thomas is planning ahead as he returns to road cycling for 2013
Immediately after winning gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Geraint Thomas' attention returned to the road.
Last Updated: 06/12/12 12:47pm
The 26-year-old from Cardiff won Olympic team pursuit gold in Beijing in 2008 and, while Bradley Wiggins plotted his route to Tour de France victory in July, Thomas focused on defending the title in London.
With that mission accomplished, Thomas departed for Majorca today to step up preparations for the 2013 season and with high aspirations.
"Since the day we crossed the line in the Games it's all been about the road and striving for that," said Thomas, who has been nominated for Wales Sports Personality of the Year.
"I'm super excited about getting the season going. I haven't raced on the road properly since the Giro (d'Italia, in May).
"I had racing after the Games, but I didn't have my road legs and it was more about survival."
Thomas was a key component of Team Sky's Tour squad in 2010 and 2011, making quite an impression in the best young rider's white jersey, but prioritised his Olympic bid in 2012, missing Wiggins' triumph.
Seeing his friend stand at the top of the Paris podium in the yellow jersey provided inspiration for Thomas, who could yet emulate Wiggins as a Grand Tour contender.
"You definitely think 'why not?' But it's a long way from saying that to actually doing it in a few years' time," said Thomas, whose season will begin at January's Tour Down Under in Adelaide.
"I'd definitely love to have a go at it. That's something we'll have to figure out once we get further down the line."
Thomas' Team Sky colleague Pete Kennaugh, who, like the Welshman won world and Olympic team pursuit titles this year, may be thinking the same thing.
For next season, Thomas' individual targets are the spring classics, particularly the Tour of Flanders in Belgium next March.
"It's one I've always loved and it's something I really want to try to do well in," Thomas said.
Riding in the front group in support of Juan Antonio Flecha and alongside prolific one-day racers Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara in the 2011 race heightened Thomas' belief he can be a contender.
Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford also has his eye on the classics, one area where the British squad have under-performed, a few podium places for Flecha, who has now left Team Sky, apart.
In Thomas, Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen, Britons Ian Stannard, Ben Swift and Luke Rowe, Australian Mathew Hayman and Austrian Bernhard Eisel they now have a formidable group for the spring races.
Thomas, who will miss influential sporting director Sean Yates following his retirement, may also have more individual opportunities in 2013 following the departure of Mark Cavendish.
The Welshman was seen as a key leadout man for the sprinter, but now he can be part of the main group, riding to protect Wiggins and Chris Froome as they go for glory in the Grand Tours.
Wiggins is projected to target the Giro next May, with Froome, runner-up in the 2012 Tour, aiming for the yellow jersey.
Thomas hopes to be part of a Tour-winning team.
"The Tour is something I want to go and do, help the boys out there and try to defend that title," he said.
His race schedule is all about peaking for July, with time allowed for the training camps in Tenerife which honed Wiggins' preparations.
At least until the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the track is in the back of Thomas' mind.
After eight years in Manchester, he has rented out his house - to Olympic team pursuit champion Dani King, sprinter Becky James and Paralympic tandem pilot rider Helen Scott - and moved home to Cardiff, where he will plot his road to glory.
"I can't wait to just get going," he said.